Stitched Together: Black Cat Yarns
We caught up with Donna from Black Cat Yarns, to find out more about what goes into running a local yarn shop!
What's your shop called? Is there a story behind the name?
The name Black Cat Yarns came about around 2012 and always sat in the background as opening a yarn shop had been a dream for many years. The name and logo were inspired by my very own black cat, Ptolemy. I jumped at the opportunity to purchase Treacle Wool Shop in November 2017 and changing the name was the final step in realising my dream. I was diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome in 2014 - in a nutshell this means I suffer with dry eyes, dry mouth, arthritis and battle with my energy levels and brain fog every single day. After numerous hospital appointments, hundreds of tests and many failed medication treatments my consultant told me that whatever he did would not make me better. In order to be well, I needed to be happy - owning and being in my yarn shop makes me happy!
Where is your shop and what is the neighbourhood like?
Black Cat Yarns is situated in a gorgeous location, right next to the River Wansbeck in the pretty market town of Morpeth in Northumberland. The shop itself is in a characterful old building next door to The Chantry (built around 1296!) which houses the Tourist Office and Craft Centre.
Who works at your shop?
We are an independent family business. You will find me (Donna) in the shop every day, there to advise, assist and be there for a chat if you need one. My husband (Andrew) helps out when he can and is best described as the master of colour.
What makes your shop special?
Black Cat Yarns is a calm space and is often described by many to be their happy place. It's a place where firm friendships (including my own) have been formed. We offer workshops in knitting, crochet, felting, yarn dyeing and creative embroidery where you can learn new or improve on existing craft skills. There is something about the space that just makes life calm you step in from the madness of the world outside into a warm, colourful, calm space that allows you to be you, no pressure or judgement.
What are your most popular yarns?
The shop stocks something for all budgets with a wide selection of yarns, accessories, patterns and tops. Our main lines include Garnstudio Drops, Stylecraft, Sirdar, James C Brett, Rico and King Cole.
We work closely with a number of indie dyers and are the only store in the UK to sell Greta & the Fibres hand-dyed yarns from Barcelona. We have recently teamed up with a local dyer Brambles & Me, a natural dye business located in the Northumberland, who will be hosting a Meet the Maker day here as well as natural yarn dyeing workshops.
Do you have a knitting group? When do they meet?
We have regular weekly and monthly Craft2gethers in our wonderful workshop space upstairs. They meet every Friday (1:00pm-3:30pm), every Saturday (10am 12:30pm) and the first Wednesday evening of the month (6:30pm-9:00pm).
What's your favourite piece of knitting advice?
No matter what you think your ability level is just do it. It is a truism that the more you practice the more expert you become.
First Birthday Celebrations
I will have owned Black Cat Yarns for 1 year on 1st November. We are hosting an extended Craft2gether on Saturday 3rd November with birthday cake, raffle prizes and some fizz!